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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cupcakes

My roommate is the absolute bomb, and she's been wanting me to make these for a while. Last week, I finally had the time and worked up the courage to make them.

This is the first time I've successfully made gluten-free cupcakes from scratch, and I have to say that they were quite awesome. My family was shocked to find out that they didn't contain gluten, and I honestly had no idea how they would turn out since the recipe didn't call for xanthan gum. They were a smidge crumbly, and they also got a little dry when I put them in the fridge due to the cream cheese frosting, so I will probably just frost them as I serve them next time. Also, I really hate using food coloring, so my red velvet stuff is never vividly red. The reaction between the vinegar and the cocoa still gives them a red tint, though.

Both recipes adapted from this page

Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend of choice (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Stir together dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt) and set aside. 
Mix together wet ingredients (milk, vinegar, vanilla) and set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs individually until blended. Alternately add dry and wet ingredients until thoroughly blended and smooth.
Line muffin tin with cupcake papers and fill each with 1/6 cup batter. Bake for about 18-22 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before icing.

Cream Cheese Icing

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar (but I honestly feel like I used more)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cream together cream cheese and butter. Blend in sugar until you reach the desired consistency. Add salt and vanilla. Add milk or cream if needed.

Spicy Chocolate Fudge

I made this for the Auburn game to show my fiery distaste for the team. It definitely delivered. I'll probably cut back the cayenne to 1/4 teaspoon next time, but this was pretty good with 1/2 teaspoon.

Spicy Chocolate Fudge with Pecans

Adapted from this recipe

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 1/4 
teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 pound dark chocolate
1/2-ish cup pecans (or however many you want) (optional)

Butter the bottom of a baking dish.

Condensed milk really weirds me out for some reason. 


In a stove-safe bowl, blend together the salt, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and vanilla with condensed milk. 
Set the bowl over a pot of boiling water. 

 Add the butter and chocolate. Stir occasionally until everything is melted and blended.

While the chocolate mixture is melting, place pecans along the bottom of the pan so they'll be evenly distributed.


When the chocolate mixture is completely blended, pour into the pan and spread until even. Refrigerate two or three hours or until firm.

When set, cut into squares. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to one month.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Butterbeer Cupcakes

I had an absolute blast making these.

There were a couple of issues, mostly filling-and-sleep-deprivation related, but that's a different story. I'll know next time to actually use a squeeze bottle or pastry bag instead of a freezer bag with the end cut out. And I'll know to not try to finish them at 2 a.m.

Adapted from this brilliant recipe

2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon butter extract
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
8 oz. plain yogurt
1/2 cup cream soda

1 11-oz. package butterscotch chips
1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup butterscotch ganache
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon butter extract
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
16 oz. powdered sugar
Splash of milk or cream (as needed)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. Cream the sugars and butter together.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Follow with the extracts and yogurt, mixing thoroughly. Alternate adding cream soda and dry ingredients.

It's so difficult to remember salmonella when this is in front of you.

Spoon by 1/6 cupfuls into a lined cupcake pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the cupcakes are cooling, melt together the butterscotch chips and heavy cream in a double boiler or glass or metal bowl over boiling water. I would think doing this in the microwave might work, too, but I'm not sure. In any case, let it cool before you use it.

In another bowl, beat the butter, extracts, salt and 1/3 cup of the ganache together.

Oh, gosh, so many butter lumps!

Add the powdered sugar a little at a time and the cream/milk if needed.

Use a squirt bottle, a pastry bag or a knife and a freezer bag to fill the cupcakes with ganache...

...Spread frosting over them...

And top with more ganache.

I've never felt so magical... and less competent at decorating.

To make things even greater, these were served at a tailgate that took place on a quad that's used for Quidditch matches. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Butterbeer Obsession (A Picture Free Post)

I think I have a problem.

I can't stop eating and drinking butterbeer-flavored things.

It started when I discovered this recipe, and now I can't stop eating the syrup that it produces. I'm going to make butterbeer cupcakes for the UGA/Auburn game in a couple of weeks, so that will definitely be an adventure.

For now, I'll share my quick and lazy version of butterbeer syrup. My favorite way to consume it is in coffee with milk. Nothing is better than waking up and feeling like a Hogwarts student when you take your first sip of coffee.

1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut by the tablespoon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
1/2 teaspoon butter extract

Combine sugars and water. Microwave for about forty seconds until the sugar has melted. Add butter and microwave for another minute and a half.

Remove sugar mixture and add remaining ingredients. Whisk until well-combined and allow to cool.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"The Internet: it's a pumpkin patch that's impossible to get thrown out of."

This girl is ril ridiculous. 

I feel like this clip is a good way to move into autumn-themed recipes and what that means for me. I'll go ahead and warn you that pumpkin and I are not BFFs. And no, it's not just because I worry that some attention-hungry teenager in booty jorts has put her paws all over my food.

Florida fans ruin everything.

There's just something about the texture that throws me off, especially with pumpkin pie. That being said, I'm going to try to be adventurous and try some new things with pumpkin this year. I'm super interested in combining it with chocolate. I also want to make pumpkin muffins of some sort. We'll just see how this goes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 2 (or just how far I'll go for cupcakes)

I did so much walking while in NYC. On Friday I went out and did some exploring to bookstores, bakeries and other random shops that caught my eye. I was using my phone to figure out where to go next and also look around and see if there were places in the area that seemed especially interesting. Prior to this trip I came up with a list of bakeries I wanted to try to hit. I found most of these bakeries from years of following Cupcakes Take The Cake. Some of these bakeries I've wanted to go to since high school (about 5 years ago) and other I've stumbled upon more recently.
One that I've always wanted to go to is BIlly's Bakery. However when I planned the trip I cut it for time reasons. very sad but necessary. Well. As I wandered around Friday morning I realized I had extra time and Billy's was only about 1.5 miles away from where I was. No biggie, right? Wrong. Those city blocks are really long. Plus I had a bag full of books. Oh, and my brand new, super cute boots were digging into my feet and giving me huge blisters. But I went anyways. Have I mentioned I love cupcakes?

I got there and couldn't help but grin like a fool. It smelled so. good. (They pump the smell out into the street. no lie.)
(Yep. I documented everything. The bakery was small and the owners looked at me life I was crazy. I tried to explain but I don't think they got it.)

I ended up getting a vanilla/vanilla, banana with cream cheese, and pumpkin with cream cheese icing.
(my first cupcakes in NYC!)

The banana and pumpkin were so. good. I loved the cream cheese icing. It was great because it wasn't super sweet, overly creamy, etc. It was the perfect blend. The banana was my favorite because not only did it have the great cream cheese icing but the cake itself was also really good. Very banana-y. I'm big on the cake part of cupcakes and this one did not disappoint. It was the perfect balance of moist and dry- not too far on either end of the spectrum.

(the vanilla, vanilla)

The Vanilla cake with vanilla icing (aka Yellow Daisy) was my least favorite. It just wasn't really anything special, although it was pretty. It also didn't help that I ate this cupcake the next day so it was really dry, although I was surprised by hor dry it got in a super short amount of time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cupcakes in the City- take 1

So last weekend I had the chance to go to NYC for a few days. And it. was. great. Obviously I went to several bakeries. I hit Billy's Bakery, Baked by Melissa, Crumbs, Sprinkles, Laduree, and another Crumbs. I also got cheesecake at Juniors. Plus all kinds of other yummy foods- including a wonderful dinner in Little Italy.

Of course, no trip to NYC would be complete without a little Anderson Cooper stalking searching. I tried to figure out in what part of Manhattan he hangs out, but no luck. I really love that he lives away from the spotlight for the most part, but a few helpful hints would have been nice!! Unfortunately, my quest to see Anderson was far less successful than my search for treats in the city that never sleeps.

And so, the bakery round up begins. On my first night I went to Juniors. I've been here before and had the Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake. It was wonderful. A lay of rich and delicious chocolate mousse on top of a layer of original cheesecake. Bliss. This may or may not have been my dinner while waiting at JFK for my flight...

Let's not talk about the nutrition info involved here, k? Great.

This time I decided to go with just a cheesecake, rather than a cheesecake/other desert combo. I couldn't decide between pumpkin cheesecake (which was so perfect for a cool, fall night) and chocolate swirl. Eventually my love of chocolate won out so the chocolate swirl it was!

The crust was much more cake-y than the cheesecake crusts that I'm use to. Typically I use cookies to make my crusts and the cheesecakes I've eaten in the past have had cookie or graham cracker crusts. Yummy, but different. The actual cheesecake was really good but again different. It wasn't super rich but was still really good. It was also more crumbly than dense.

As much as I enjoyed this cheesecake, if I had to do it over again I would probably get the pumpkin. I have become a big fan of pumpkin food in the past few years so I think the combination of pumpkin and cheesecake would be heavenly.

Next up- Cupcakes!!

The Italian Elvis: Banana Nutella Muffins with Chocolate Chips

These muffins were an adventure.

First of all, this was the first muffin recipe that I've ever made form scratch.

Second, I had some banana issues. You really need nice ripe bananas for baking projects, but I let mine get too ripe and didn't want to poison anyone, so I had to get new ones. It's easy to spot a baker because s/he always digs around for the sketchy bananas and is disappointed when they're all pretty.

Unfortunately, these weren't in the produce basket at my community store.

Third, I'll be up-front with you and confess that I improvised a lot with these while I was mixing and measuring, so a few measurements are guesstimates. Anything with Nutella, bananas and chocolate chips will turn out delicious, though.

Now to the recipe! 

1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 oz. vanilla yogurt
2 tablespoons milk
4 bananas, mashed
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 oz. chocolate chips
A jar of 4 tablespoons Nutella

Beat together butter, sugar, eggs and milk. Add in the yogurt and milk and whisk together.

This reminded me of an inverse egg.

Asante sana, squash banana.

Mix the mashed bananas into the yogurt mixture.

Fold in your dry ingredients.

When it looks like this:

Add the Nutella.

When it's just incorporated, fold in the chocolate chips. Mix until everything is barely blended.

Deliciously unattractive
Spoon into a lined or greased cupcake pan.

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

They were very moist but still had that dense crumbliness that I wanted. I'd definitely make them again.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Anderson Cooper's weird eating habits

Enjoy that screenshot.

I feel very tempted to call BS on the Coops never drinking coffee. If journalism school has taught me anything it's that:

a. Facebook makes research so much easier.


b. journalists can't function without coffee.

Also, Brussels sprouts are freaking delicious, especially sauteed with butter, bacon, or anything that will significantly decrease their nutritional value.

So nutritious (Recipe here)

I have two muffin recipes to share soon. I'd never made muffins from scratch before last week, but I think they were successful! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

This week's Dawg Dish meeting was all about pairing ingredients that normally wouldn't go together. I've been wanting to try this out for a while, and with a challenge like that, I couldn't put it off any longer.

Cupcakes adapted from this post at Foodologie, which was in turn adapted from this Hershey's recipe that I've been using since I discovered it in one of my mom's cookbooks

Frosting adapted from Food Network


2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/8 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup hot water

Start by combining all the dry ingredients. In the baking world, sugar is usually not allowed to play dry ingredient reindeer games, but he can tag along in this recipe.

I was mildly apprehensive.

A different kind of baking soda volcano

Stir these together and add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat all of these on medium speed for two minutes. If you're mixing by hand, mix until well combined.


Add the water and stir until well combined. Your batter will be very thin.

I can't tell them apart.

Pour into a lined cupcake pan. Each cup should hold about 1/6 cup of batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or set. Let them cool. Seriously. You'll be able to tango with about three dozen of these spicy lovelies once you've used all the batter, so there's no need to hurt yourself.

Temptation and first-degree burns


1 stick of butter, softened
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
2-ish cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat together the butter and cream cheese.

Gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla.

Resist the urge to dip your face in the bowl.

Frost the cooled cupcakes.

Toppings (optional):

Mexican hot chocolate
Red hots

When I say Mexican hot chocolate, I mean those hexagonal or circular blocks of cinnamon-y chocolate-y deliciousness you'll find in your local grocery store. I think a lot of toppings would work on these; I actually wanted to use cinnamon gummies instead of the red hots, but they're kind of seasonal.

Chop the hot chocolate blocks into small pieces or powder or however they turn out.

I tried shaving, pounding with a knife, and finally chopping. If you have a food processor, using that would probably be a lot easier.

Sprinkle the fairy dust on your cupcakes.

And add your cinnamon candy of choice!

You'll wind up with a not-too-spicy cupcake. The cream cheese definitely balances everything out, but be sure to have some sort of beverage handy.